investigation into the brutal killing of Sligo man Eugene Gillespie (67)
has been upgraded to murder, as the community struggles to come to
terms with the heinous crime.
At a press briefing held in Sligo
yesterday gardaí would not confirm the postmortem results “for
operational reasons”, the savage nature of the attack and the fact that
he may have been there for up to two days has shocked local people and
struck fear into elderly people in the town and county.
Sligo gardaí confirmed that they have increased patrols in the region. Extensive door-to-door enquiries are continuing.A number of houses were raided this morning in Sligo town as part of the extensive investigation. Gardaí will not comment as the raids and searches are still underway.News is breaking that the gardaí received a 999 call on Thursday (20 Sept) evening that 'a man was tied up in a house'. The caller said the house had a 'brown gate'. It is understood that gardaí were unable to find such a house from the description received.
Gillespie was tied up and badly beaten by an intruder, or intruders,
sometime after 9pm on Wednesday and left for dead for up to two days. It
is understood he suffered head injuries, including a broken jaw.
Supt Mary Murray, who is heading the investigation, confirmed that
“quite an amount” of CCTV footage from the area was being analysed with
30 gardaí involved in the investigation.
Detectives want to
identify anyone with whom the highly popular man had been in contact.
They also want to identify anyone who might have been seen following
him, or acting suspiciously, near his house on Old Market St.
The house is still sealed and undergoing forensic tests, Supt Murray said this is likely to continue for some time.
While it is widely believed that more than one person was involved in the attack, no specific line of inquiry is being pursued.
Investigating gardaí are looking at the possibility that the murder could be linked to several other vicious robberies on elderly people in the town.
Previously elderly twins who live on nearby John Street were beaten up and their home was ransacked by four men.
The two men, who are in their late 80s, were assaulted during the raid, in which a substantial amount of money was taken.
Shortly after the incident the home of another pensioner was also raided. On that occasion the
owner was not at home, but several thousand euro were taken.
has happened to some other old men in the town; now it's happened to
poor Eugene but it ended very badly. Everyone who lives alone is very
worried," said one elderly resident.
Left: Eugene Gillespie participating in his favourite hobby...vintage cars.
popular resident of Sligo, Mr Gillespie’s killing has prompted calls
for a clampdown on violence, with one Sligo man offering to organise a
reward for information leading to the conviction of his killers.
Foley, an Australia-based friend of Mr Gillespie, said it was “inhuman”
to leave anyone in that situation without summoning help. He said the
response to his idea of a reward had been “astounding”. Mr Gillespie had
no interest in money as long as he had a warm bed, “a bit of bread” and
his cars, he added.
Sligo solicitor Joe Carter, another friend,
said that of all the people who did not deserve such a fate, “he
certainly did not”. Mr Gillespie was “so far removed from violence”
himself that it underlined the brutality of what was done to him.
cousin Eddie Gillespie said the family was still in shock. He said
Eugene had been found by family members who could not make contact.
Garda Supt Murray appealed to pedestrians, taxi drivers, business people
and anyone who was in the vicinity of Old Market Street from 9pm on
Wednesday to 9.20pm last Friday to contact Sligo gardaí if they had
information on 071-9157000, or the Garda confidential telephone line on
Funeral arrangements are expected to be announced later.The reward account organised by Declan Foley is now open.
Donations can be made to;The Eugene Gillespie Memorial Account
Sligo Credit Union
Account Number 22735
Read an appreciation of Eugene Gillespie by Declan Foley (Melbourne, Australia) HERESee the Breaking News report, updates and numerous comments
of sympathy on SligoToday.ie 22/9/12
and SligoToday.ie 23/9/12 and SligoToday.ie 24/9/12
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